PARK RAPIDS — CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health and CHI St. Joseph’s Health hospital have been monitoring the Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, situation since it began, meeting weekly and preparing for possible outcomes.

As of Monday morning, there are no known or presumptive cases in Hubbard County.  CHI St. Joseph’s has the capability to test for the virus.

As the public health agent for Hubbard County, CHI St. Joseph’s is in close contact with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and will work with them if the virus begins to spread in the communities.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before.  This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but is now able to spread from person-to-person.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to what someone may be experiencing as the result of seasonal influenza — namely a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.  These symptoms on their own are not worrisome and should not cause alarm. But if someone exhibits these symptoms who has recently traveled to areas with widespread COVID-19 illness or has been in close contact with a known positive case, that individual should immediately notify their health care provider, who will coordinate with the appropriate public health officials to determine next steps. Additionally, that individual should limit movement within the community and limit visitors until further guidance can be given.

Based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of other coronaviruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

There is currently no vaccine or antiviral treatment available for coronavirus. There are influenza and cold viruses circulating, and CHI St. Joseph’s Health recommends taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs including regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or an elbow, and staying home when you’re sick. They also encourage influenza vaccination if you have not already done so.

All nonessential travel to areas affected by COVID-19 is also discouraged. If you are in a higher risk category for complications, it is recommended that you take additional care, following CDC guidelines.

As this situation is changing rapidly, CHI St. Joseph’s will provide updates on the local situation regularly via Facebook page or go to the CDC website for the most current guidelines and recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

The CDC website includes guidelines for individuals, families, schools, faith communities, long term care, and health care providers.  CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health and CHI St. Joseph’s Health hospital are committed to the safety and health of the community, and will continue to work together and with community partners throughout this changing situation.

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